Adriano Espeschit, the President of Potássio do Brasil, recently provided an insightful lecture on “Potassium Mining in the Amazon – Food Security for Brazil and the World” as part of the 2023 lecture cycle of the Associação Paulista de Engenheiro de Minas (APEMI). The focus of his discussion was the Autazes Potassium Project, which is currently under the environmental licensing process.
The Autazes Potash Project, under the umbrella and management of Brazil Potash, is located in the Amazonas region. The project has substantial potential to revolutionize Brazil’s potash landscape. Targeting potash, a vital mineral for producing potassium-rich fertilizers, the project has the capability to produce an estimated 2.2 million tonnes annually when fully operational.
The strategic location of the project, the proximity to major farming regions, and access to renewable energy sources equip the project for success. It offers the opportunity to reduce Brazil’s reliance on imported potash while also boosting local and national economies through job creation and revenue generation.
Consultation and Consent Protocol
Espeschit highlighted the consultation and consent protocol involving the indigenous Mura de Autazes and Careiro da Várzea people. The protocol comprises seven steps to inform the Autazes community and the region about the Potássio project. Currently, the project is transitioning through the third and fourth steps of this phase.
Impact on Agribusiness and Regional Development
The Autazes Potash Project promises significant benefits to Brazilian agribusiness and the regional development where it will be established. Espeschit emphasized the potential reduction of fertilizer imports, crucial for the country’s agricultural sector. Moreover, the project will contribute to regional infrastructure development, including paving the connecting road between Vila de Urucurituba and Lago de Soares and constructing a port near Vila de Urucurituba in Autazes.
Espeschit also shed light on the potassium chloride extraction process and the underground mining method using chambers and pillars.
Socioeconomic and Environmental Commitments
Potássio do Brasil has committed to hiring 80% of local labor, thus promising substantial job creation for the local community. Moreover, the company plans to implement over 30 socioeconomic-environmental projects in Autazes.
Espeschit reiterated the company’s environmental responsibility, promising no residues left on the surface of the project. Moreover, there’s a commitment to reforest an area ten times larger than that used for the implementation of the enterprise, demonstrating a solid commitment to environmental sustainability.
Nourishing Communities and Promoting Sustainable Agriculture
Beyond its mining activities, Brazil Potash is committed to transforming the lives of residents in the communities where it operates. The company has made considerable contributions to tackle food security issues in many parts of Brazil. During the COVID-19 pandemic, large quantities of food were donated to the local communities surrounding the Autazes Potash Project.
In addition to addressing immediate food security needs, Brazil Potash has also demonstrated commitment towards promoting sustainable agriculture within these communities. The company recently donated over 5,000 seedlings grown in their nursery located in the Urucurituba village in the Autazes municipality to the Amazonas state government. This initiative not only boosts rural production and promotes food security, but it also contributes to climate change mitigation by sequestering greenhouse gasses.
The Future of Potash Mining
Espeschit’s insightful discussion at APEMI’s lecture series underlined the Autazes Potash Project’s potential in revolutionizing the potash landscape in Brazil. The project’s substantial benefits extend from agribusiness to local communities and sustainability initiatives. As the project navigates through its licensing phase, it has the potential to contribute to Brazil’s potash self-sufficiency, job creation, and socio-environmental development.